pri·​or·​i·​ty | \ prī-ˈȯr-ə-tē How to pronounce priority (audio) , -ˈär- \
plural priorities

Definition of priority

1a(1) : the quality or state of being prior
(2) : precedence in date or position of publication used of taxa
b(1) : superiority in rank, position, or privilege
(2) : legal precedence in exercise of rights over the same subject matter
2 : a preferential rating especially : one that allocates rights to goods and services usually in limited supply that project has top priority
3 : something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives

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Examples of priority in a Sentence

Reorganizing the sales force will be a top priority for the new president. Getting the work done on time is a priority for me. She decided to go to the party instead of studying? Where are her priorities? I know you want to buy a new stereo, but right now, saving for college has to take priority.
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Recent Examples on the Web Protecting Michigan’s drinking water and the Great Lakes from toxic contamination topped the list of environmental priorities in choosing a candidate in the Global Strategy Group survey, at 47%. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, "Reversing Trump's climate change policies: Where the Dem presidential candidates stand," 13 Feb. 2020 Health is low-priority Given long hours on the road, access to healthcare is an issue, complained truck drivers. Prachi Salve, Quartz India, "“Sleepless for days”: Indian truckers are overworked, underpaid, and have no healthcare," 12 Feb. 2020 Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, the first of the party’s candidates elected to the new Dáil, pledged climate would be one of his top priorities upon taking office. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "The EU Says It Cares About Climate Change. Ireland Could Test That.," 11 Feb. 2020 Health officials and regular citizens set their priorities based on the general risk to the public. National Geographic, "How coronavirus compares to flu, Ebola, and other major outbreaks," 7 Feb. 2020 Vizio makes a number of different sound bars in the sub-$200 range, but the SB3621N-E8M is a particularly well-reviewed option among consumers and a great choice if both price and compactness are your priorities. Don Melanson, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Sound Bars for Compact, Powerful Audio," 6 Feb. 2020 Ring should have gotten the memo by now that security should be its main priority. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "Amazon Ring Rolls Out New Control Center, Allowing Users to Check on Two-Factor Authentication and Opt Out of Law Enforcement Requests," 6 Feb. 2020 The sin of Marie Yovanovitch, the career diplomat who was removed as ambassador to Ukraine on Trump’s orders, was not to understand or accept this order of priority. Fintan O’toole, The New York Review of Books, "Whatever He Wants," 30 Jan. 2020 Philosophy is useful for considering why their priorities differ, and whose are likelier to be right. Christopher Michaelson, The Conversation, "How CEOs, experts and philosophers see the world’s biggest risks differently," 27 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'priority.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of priority

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

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Time Traveler for priority

Time Traveler

The first known use of priority was in the 14th century

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Statistics for priority

Last Updated

23 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Priority.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for priority


How to pronounce priority (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of priority

: something that is more important than other things and that needs to be done or dealt with first
US : the things that someone cares about and thinks are important
: the condition of being more important than something or someone else and therefore coming or being dealt with first


pri·​or·​i·​ty | \ prī-ˈȯr-ə-tē How to pronounce priority (audio) \
plural priorities

Kids Definition of priority

: a condition of being more important than other things


pri·​or·​i·​ty | \ prī-ˈȯr-ə-tē How to pronounce priority (audio) \
plural priorities

Legal Definition of priority

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: precedence in exercise of rights in the same subject matter secured interests have priority over unsecured ones



Legal Definition of priority (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : having precedence over another in the exercise of rights in the same subject matter a priority creditor a priority claim
2 : of or relating to priority a priority contest

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